Saturday, 14 February 2009

Naughty play day

I should have been working, but decided to play instead. I have started reading 'Collage Journeys' by Jane Davies - essential and inspirational for anyone who has had the traumatic week I have experienced: it offers a kick-start to creativity for anyone who loves paper. I loved her introductory chapter and for once eschewed my normal procedure of experiment and note-making, which usually results in a box full of supplies, many notes, and nothing finished.

As my computer, scanner and printer were non-operational, I opened a magazine and fell in love with some snow-covered Scottish mountains (quite why in the midst of our own snow-storms ??) - and wondered how I could use them. I have worked with magazine pieces before but suddenly visualised a fractured fabric patchwork technique I had seen somewhere, and decided to rip the magazine photos and intersperse them with some of the text-stamped paperbags that is a feature of a lot of my journaling work.

I was quite pleased with the initial result, achieved without my usual notes or sketches, but I hesitated to explore the next stage without a little experimentation. I wanted to try out different effects of using two sorts of gel medium, partly to tone down the gloss of the magazine pages, plus overlaid napkin images, and stamped text on the white tissue backing from decorative napkins - this as a result of reading Sharon Tomlinson's technique in the current issue of 'Cloth Paper Scissors'.

So out came my journaling notebook; I pasted in a few pieces of torn magazine pages, and then some napkin images, and them some white napkin, using two types of gel medium , but leaving space to annotate what I had done. But the collage took over; I filled in all the spaces in various ways and added colour using Aquatone water-soluble crayons, and Neocolor - to test the different effects. I tried pasting white tissue over the glossy magazine snippets, and tried some over-stamping; then added pre-stamped text, as advised by Sharon. From this 'exercise' that became a page in its own right, I learned so much; my page is not beautiful - lots of errors in placement, and colouring, but it will serve as a 'collage sampler' and I will probably remember more than if I had made my usual tentative experiments. I will still catalogue what I did, in my notebook, because otherwise I will forget what I have done.

The first two photos show this experimental page: 1. just a few paste-downs with space to make notes; 2. the finished collage-that-took-over 'experimental' page - the photographic quality is awful as the light had gone and my scanner is not working; so the colours are quite wrong, all yellow and faded - I am ashamed to be posting them and will take another pic on the morning, in daylight; but I think maybe just a little bit of the exciting texture comes through; and I know where I need to make further trials, before going back to my original idea. Please click on any of the images to view then at a larger size.

As to my original idea - a double-page spread in an artist's watercolour book ( I keep a supply of these handy for when the creative muse strikes): the second two pics show the basic pages, which I will now be able to embellish using the experience gained from the 'experimental' page. The pages will be framed with paper strips over-stamped with script - I painted the paper bags this afternoon with acrylics using my credit-card glaze technique (I will post this method when I have something to photograph). Then I will add the words and some other embellishments, but keep it simple. It will be called 'ESCAPE' - which is just what I felt I needed this week, with the technological trauma I have experienced. Please don't laugh at my poor attempts, and even poorer photography - I console myself with the fact it is not about achievement but having fun; and mental therapy.


  1. No need to apologize. I, for one, love to see things in process. The final pages with the blues, the mountain and the bird are lovely. The page above that too. I like the colors melding. And it is interesting to see how the initial collage items changed in appearance in the second picture. I am quite impressed that you can take notes on your process. Me, I just plunge in and slap things together, no idea how, thus i can never repeat myself. I have only recently thought to perhaps use a watercolor notebook for collaging as the pages are nice and sturdy. so glad to see you notebook in use.

  2. I love to experiment. It feeds my soul and I know it did yours also. Fun techniques.

  3. Well I, for one, think your page IS beautiful. I read that same article in Cloth, Paper, Scissors, about the napkins, and I am dying to try it out. I feel a little reluctant, as this is new, but I want to give it a try. I love the Experimental Journey page and especially like the way you made notes on the page. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Just found your blog. LOVE your pages. I recently got Collage Journeys also and am really enjoying the book. So much inspiration.